Microsoft previews Windows 8 user interface

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Microsoft previews Windows 8 user interface

Mimics Windows Phone 7 tile UI.

Microsoft has replaced the Windows Start menu with a tile-based screen for its upcoming Windows 8 operating system.

The start page was one of a select few features previewed in a video played at the All Things Digital D9 conference in the United States overnight.

The new start screen – akin to the Windows Phone 7 or Flipboard experience – gives users a “personal mosaic” of “live” tiles representing applications, as opposed to a menu bar or icons.

These “live” tiles can reveal up-to-date information such as the number of new emails, the day’s appointments in the calendar, notifications from social networking feeds, the current time or temperature.

The operating system, which Microsoft said was redesigned “from the chip to the interface”, is based on standard web technologies HTML5 and Javascript to allow for rapid development of applications.

Microsoft said these applications will be controlled by both mouse and keyboard on traditional desktops and laptops, as well as by touch interface on tablets and other slate computers.

The video demonstration shows a Microsoft engineer flicking between applications at rapid speed, a new way of visualising the file system and a more ergonomic ‘thumbs layout’ for typing on touch screens.

The vendor said it will reveal more on the user interface in a series of staged videos during the coming months.

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